Tartuffe, Bury St Edmunds

The 8:5 Theatre Company deserved better than the sparsely-filled house for the first night of their excellent productions of Molière's Tartuffe.

By FRANK CLIFF

The 8:5 Theatre Company deserved better than the sparsely-filled house for the first night of their excellent productions of Molière's Tartuffe, at the Theatre Royal, Bury St Edmunds.

In its day one of the most controversial of his plays, denounced for what was seen as an attack on religion, its exposure of hypocrisy still has plenty of resonance and the comedy sparkles in Miles Malleson's excellent version; the final denouement somewhat better than the Molière version.

Whether Orgon might have been so duped by Tartuffe's religious zeal in the 1920s seems unlikely, but it's credible enough set in this period and provides an excuse for an elegant design beautifully dressed by Elizabeth Evans.

Brian Donnan's direction moves things along at a cracking pace and in the fine cast there are some excellent performances. Tony Evans managed to make Cleonte, a giver of good advice, an interesting and amusing figure, and Caroline Duffety was brilliant, acerbic and assertive as the maid Dorine.

As Orgon, the rich merchant duped by Tartuffe, Dick Hamshore was excellent if sometimes not quite volatile enough and Adam Eves was a superb Tartuffe: truly “sly treacherous and vile beyond belief”.

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t Tartuffe runs until Saturday October 26.

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